Sylvia Patey remembers her first acting role quite vividly.
It was in a local community production in her hometown in England about Roy Rogers and his famous horse, Trigger.
Patey, then about six years old, played Rogers.
“And I sang and I did a tap dance. Very amateurish and quite fun.”
A little later in adulthood, while working as a nurse at a big city general hospital in her home country, she returned to the stage.
A couple of doctors would put together a musical show just before Christmas, sort of a satirical take on characters within the hospital — like the switchboard operator doing a weather piece.
“It was a sellout,” she said of the shows that ran three nights at a local theatre.
She laughs when she recalls being in the lineup for the Thriller dance for one show, with everyone dressed as scrub nurses.
In the years since, Patey, who has always been intrigued by theatre, never found an opportunity to get involved as life took her from England to Newfoundland.
Eight years ago, Patey, now 72, moved from St. Anthony to Pasadena.
Patey said when she made the move to Pasadena she was told it would be hard to fit in. Her reaction was that the only way to conquer that was to get involved. So, she did with her church.
Outside that her work was her social outlet.
But when she retired three years ago, that outlet was gone.
“I’ve always been interested in getting involved in community and I try my best to do that,” she said. “And when you’re retired you kind of have to, otherwise you’re isolated.”
So, she joined a knitting group and a book club. It was the book club that would lead to re-connecting with the theatre.
While at the library one night, two young women were talking about a play they were directing for Crown Valley Theatre.
It was suggested Patey audition, so she did.
She had no idea she’d actually get a part and figured she’d just be doing something backstage.
“And I would have been highly satisfied with that.”
But get a part she did.
Patey is playing the role of a queen in the local theatre company’s first production, “Bedtime Stories (As Told by Our Dad … Who Messed Them Up).”
“Not the queen. I don’t want Queen Elizabeth to get upset with me,” she said with a laugh when talking about her character.
The play is about a dad who’s been thrown into the role of carrying for his children who are used to having bedtime stories read to them. So, dad reads them three well-known fairy tales.
“But there’s a twist on every one of them, because he messes them up,” said Patey.
She’s in the story of the “Princess and the Pea,” and is a queen who is dissatisfied with her life.
“I’m kind of fed up with being the queen. I’m getting older and I want to go and have some fun.”
The queen thinks her son should take over, but he has to get married first.
“So, that’s where the princess comes in.”
Patey likes to keep her mind active and said learning her lines is an excellent way to do that.
And “praise the Lord for technology,” she’s found an app that she can use to record the cues of her co-actors for her to practice along with.
“I have to do what I have to do,” she said with a chuckle.
Patey is one of the older people in the production and is working alongside kids eight, 10 and 15.
She said she’s loving interacting with them and that it’s nice being able to help the young ones.
“They need the encouragement. They need the support. They need the guidance.”
Crown Valley Theatre will present “Bedtime Stories (As Told by Our Dad … Who Messed Them Up)” at Pasadena Place on Friday at 7 p.m.